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Alan Moss

Pair of Dominique Rosewood Armchairs from Alan Moss
By Dominique
Located in New York, NY
furniture dealer Alan Moss. Upholstered in 2012.

Vintage 1940s French Art Deco Armchairs


Mohair, Wood

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A Close Look at Art Deco Furniture

Art Deco furniture is characterized by its celebration of modern life. More than its emphasis on natural wood grains and focus on traditional craftsmanship, Art Deco furniture — which typically refers to pieces produced during the 1920s and 1930s — is an ode to the glamour of the “Roaring Twenties.” Widely known designers associated with the Art Deco style include Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Eileen Gray, Maurice Dufrêne and Jules Leleu.

The term Art Deco derives from the name of a large decorative arts exhibition held in Paris in 1925. “Art Deco” is often used broadly, to describe the work of creators in associated or ancillary styles. This is particularly true of American Art Deco, which is also called “Streamline Moderne” or “Machine Age” design.

Art Deco textile designers employed dazzling floral motifs and vivid colors, and while Art Deco furniture makers respected the dark woods and modern metals with which they worked, they frequently incorporated decorative embellishments such as exotic animal hides as well as veneers in their seating, case pieces and bedroom furniture. Today, the style is still favored by designers looking to infuse interiors with an air of luxury and sophistication.

From mother-of-pearl inlaid vitrines to chrome aviator chairs, bold and inventive works in the Art Deco style include chaise longues (also known as chaise lounges) and curved armchairs.

On 1stDibs, browse Art Deco furnishings by designer, including works by Paul Follot and René Lalique, or by category, from angular chairs and sculptural burl wood tables to lighting and decorative objects.

Finding the Right Armchairs for You

Armchairs have run the gamut from prestige to ease and everything in between, and everyone has an antique, new or vintage armchair that they love.

Long before industrial mass production democratized seating, armchairs conveyed status and power. In ancient Egypt, the commoners took stools, while in early Greece, ceremonial chairs of carved marble were designated for nobility. But the high-backed early thrones of yore, elevated and ornate, were merely grandiose iterations of today’s armchairs.

Modern-day armchairs, built with functionality and comfort in mind, are now central to tasks throughout your home. Formal dining armchairs support your guests at a table for a cheery feast, a good drafting chair with a deep seat is parked in front of an easel where you create art and, elsewhere, an ergonomic wonder of sorts positions you at the desk for your 9 to 5.

When placed under just the right lamp where you can lounge comfortably, both elbows resting on the padded supports on each side of you, an upholstered armchair — or a rattan armchair for your light-suffused sunroom — can be the sanctuary where you’ll read for hours.

If you’re in the mood for company, your velvet chesterfield armchair is a place to relax and be part of the conversation that swirls around you. Maybe the dialogue is about the beloved Papa Bear chair, a mid-century modern masterpiece from Danish carpenter and furniture maker Hans Wegner, and the wingback’s strong association with the concept of cozying up by the fireplace, which we can trace back to its origins in 1600s-era England, when the seat’s distinctive arm protrusions protected the sitter from the heat of the period’s large fireplaces.

If the fireside armchair chat involves spirited comparisons, your companions will likely probe the merits of antique and vintage armchairs such as Queen Anne armchairs, Victorian armchairs or even Louis XVI armchairs, as well as the pros and cons of restoration versus conservation.

Everyone seems to have a favorite armchair and most people will be all too willing to talk about their beloved design. Whether that’s the unique Favela chair by Brazilian sibling furniture designers Fernando and Humberto Campana, who repurpose everyday objects to provocative effect; or Marcel Breuer’s futuristic tubular metal Wassily lounge chair; the functionality-first LC series from Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret; or the Eames lounge chair of the mid-1950s created by Charles and Ray Eames, there is an iconic armchair for everyone and every purpose. Find yours on 1stDibs right now.